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'24 Hour Restaurant Battle' premieres tonight: Scott Conant talks hosting, judging, and nurturing


Food Network junkies, asseeeemmmmbllle! 24 Hour Restaurant Battle, a new reality-competition series that pits amateur restaurant owners against each other, premieres tonight at 10 p.m. ET. Kind of like a well-beaten mixture of Top Chef's perennial Restaurant Wars episode and Chopped, 24 Hour Restaurant Battle gives two teams exactly 24 hours and $4,000 to prepare a menu, choose a coherent theme, paint and furnish, and open their restaurant for service. One team member runs the kitchen and handles the cooking, while the other handles the front of the house, taking care of decorating, greeting, and creating tension with their teammate. At the end of the day, judges and patrons come inside to test how well each team did, and the winning team receives $10,000. Accomplished chef and restaurateur Scott Conant heads up the tough judging panel and also serves as host for the program. He took some time to chat with EW about the new show, the difficulties of opening a restaurant, and how he's much nicer than he looks on TV.


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